Mehendee’s journey comes as an inspiration to youth who aspire to make a big name in the fashion industry
Bold, Bright and Beautiful! Whoever coined this lovely phrase had a girl like Mehendee Karan Singh in mind. Talented, mysterious, rebellious, intellectual and always aesthetically driven, Mehendee is one of the few Indian Fashion Designers who personify this phrase ‘Maestro at Large’. She has been breaking Indian Stereotypes & giving a new definition to the Indian Fashion Industry.
From turning the face of the Indian fashion industry with unconventional & unique design patterns to blending modernity with a sense of extraordinariness and re-defining the new style of modern Indian Youth, Mehendee has been fearless to experiment with her designs with a vision to re-define the shape of the Indian fashion industry with her quirky designs, appealing to classes as well as masses.
Mehendee Karan Singh, in a very short span of time, has not just made her brand a fashion blockbuster in India & Dubai, she has also cross pollinated her persona along with her brand. Her new venture Coal Fashion, inspired by nature, is the culmination of almost two decades of hard work and dedication.
With a degree in Fine Arts from Delhi College of Arts, Mehendee did her Post-Graduation in Leather Technology and Footwear Designs. Mehendee then earned experience while working with Tata International’s Leather Division and Hidesign in India before moving to Dubai post-marriage and then working there. “Dubai city isn’t a manufacturing hub but is a retail market. So, I became a buyer for international brands like Nine West, Shoe Mart and the Landmark Group’s private label, which involved a lot of travel within Asia. It gave me a lot of exposure and learning”, Singh says, of the 12 years she spent there.
About 6 years back, Mehendee quit her job to help create a private label order in Dubai for her former employees. This particular step helped her learn a lot about the business side of this industry and almost 3 years back she finally decided to start her own label with a vision to break Indian Stereotypes & to give a new definition to the Indian Fashion Industry; an inspiration for Indian Youth aspired for.
Coal Fashion Saga
A power woman, a feminist with a strong voice, and an individual who lives by her own rules, Mehendee is greatly influenced by Nature. In 2019, she decided to launch her own brand COAL which is inspired by nature. Mehendee says, “the serenity in the breeze, the swinging of the palm trees around me just turned into patterns of my bags. I call it the ‘Serenity Collection’ for the same reason. This is our first collection and it wasn’t easy to get it right, I wanted to make 3D triangles, cubes, hexagons and what not. Not having your own sampling team can be a challenging affair to get the design right”.
Though Mehendee did not have any official entrepreneurship knowledge she believes, “No knowledge is enough, life is a process of making choices and I made mine wisely. I think I had enough knowledge and experience to start my own brand; I took experience from different industries to be able to do this. According to me, to be an entrepreneur, one requires passion, hard work and risk-taking ability, if you have these, you can be an entrepreneur too. Also, one learns a lot during the process, you can never be sure what challenge you will be faced with. Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t”.
How “Coal” is different from other brands?
Mehendee says, “Coal is a one of the first international handbag brand which is making its online presence felt outside India too. we have customers from U.S, Canada, Dubai and we sell through aggregators in India.
What makes COAL stand out is its unique designs and quality. We source leather from the best tannery in Italy which also supplies to big brands like Prada and other international brands. Fittings and other backing materials are sourced from best markets of the world, primarily from Hong Kong so that we can keep the weight of the bag light.
Also, since we have made dual colour bags, we use 4x times more leather than a simple bag which also makes us a costly brand. We as a brand follow a no returns policy because we take our QC very seriously and, even a single small issue, be it a broken stitch or an improper stitch lock, the bag is rejected. Till now we have not had a single return. The most interesting thing about or brand is that every collection is a limited edition. We don’t repeat our collections. Maintaining uniqueness of design and high standards of quality give us a cutting edge. We have great plans; we want to surprise the world with innovative products and be a game changer in the luxury handbag segment”.
Mehendee Karan Singh’s journey comes as an inspiration to youth who aspire to make a big name in the fashion industry. She is married with kids & yet makes a beautifully perfect balance between work & personal life. About how she manages the seamless balance between work life & personal life and yet relax mentally, she says “One has to work on time management when doing multiple things. Eating right, giving one hour in a day to reflect and relax mentally through any form of physical activity or just plain meditation helps you going good. There are days when no work-life balance can be maintained too but that’s a part of the journey so no complains”. Moreover, she appreciates her husband for always being very supportive and motivating in her journey.
Mehendee is quite ambitious and dreams of her products to be on par with international brands like Armani and Prada. She has a roaring advice for young girls and boys who want to pursue their career in Fashion Designing, “Go for it! Sustainable fashion is the way forward in the fashion industry”.